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UPDATED: Statement on SOPA & PIPA…

**** UPDATED:  SEE BELOW ****Congressman Richard Neal has released a statement on SOPA (which is the House version of PIPA and vice-versa), wherein he appears to oppose the current version of the bill.  We print it in full below:

“Thank you to those who have made the effort to contact me in regards to SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act (H.R. 3261). Committee action on this bill has been postponed, and it is uncertain when or if the bill will be brought up for further debate. I do not like SOPA in its current form. I would like to reiterate my personal belief in the right to freedom of speech. There are few things more uniquely American than the right to voice one’s own beliefs.”

**The following statement has been posted to the Facebook Wall of Congressman Richard Neal who represents Western Mass Politics & Insight in the United States House of Representatives.  The background of this post has been changed to reflect our support of Wikipedia, Reddit, Google and other protests across the Internet.**

Congressman Neal:

WMassP&I would like to express to you our deep reservations about SOPA and PIPA today when dozens of other online sites are blacking out in protest.  This blog is fully supportive of the creative community’s efforts to stop online piracy.  However, the censoring and Internet provisions of these proposed laws that threaten online creativity and freedom go too far.  Furthermore, despite some efforts to remove the most offensive sections, we feel that in the end, such provisions cannot be effectively purged from these bills.  A new, smarter bill that is written not only at the behest of the creative community, but in collaboration with the technology community is the answer.

We as a nation are quite able to cut back on the violations and theft that imperils artists’ ability to live off their creations without turning the Internet into a police state or endangering current and would-be tech companies’ ability to innovate & grow.

As one of Springfield’s venues for online commentary, discussion, creativity and involvement in our community, we feel it is our obligation to oppose these bills and convey that opposition to you directly.  We hope that you will do the same and join the increasing ranks of your colleagues who already stand opposed to these bills.  Instead, please seek NEW legislation–made from scratch–that protects the financial viability of creativity in this country but also defends and strengthens the innovation and freedom of the Internet.

-Matt Szafranski
Western Mass Politics & Insight


You can see our statement on Cong. Neal’s page here and here